Law Schools

We mentioned this morning a National Law Journal report that law schools have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in new buildings even while the market for legal education collapses around them.

I don’t really have much to add to that report, but I just kind of want everybody to internalize that information. Their business model is ON FIRE, yet they’re building new s**t. Emperor Nero had a better grasp on long-term planning than law school deans…

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Early last week, we broke the news that the Thomas Jefferson School of Law had missed a payment on its revenue bonds, triggering a default event under its current Loan Agreement. Luckily for the school, it was able to strike a deal with its bondholders to delay the unseemly business of ceasing its operations, at least until October 17, 2014. In the interim, TJSL is discussing “various potential structures and restructuring alternatives” with its bondholders, and is “confident” that it will be able to reach an accord in the near future.

When we last checked in with this overly optimistic law school, TJSL was hoping that it would be able to “continue to prosper” after settling up with its creditors. But how is the law school supposed to reach this happy fate when its credit rating with Standard & Poor’s keeps getting downgraded lower and lower?

Perhaps it’s time for Thomas Jefferson Law to remove its rose-colored glasses and embrace the fact that it shares the same financial woes as its own namesake. Will the school die in debt like our former president?

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It’s like this except with no smiling and everyone secretly resenting each other.

We’re just deep enough into the school year for law students to feel out their fellows and pop the question about forming a study group. And most law students will join some study group reflexively because it’s “just what you do.” But study groups aren’t so much about responsible preparation as much as an excuse to summon a perverse Voltron of collective neuroses. You’re probably going to end up with the same grade you’d have gotten if you studied on your own, but now you have a handful of other, possibly otherwise reasonable wrecks bombarding you with all the fears and insecurities you weren’t even thinking about.

The Paper Chase provided the gold standard of awful study groups. Backstabbing, withholding study aids, and a weird fascination with the word “pimp.”

At least until now….

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Insider trading tastes delicious!

* Politics and Biglaw just don’t mix: House Republicans hired Quinn Emanuel to handle their suit against President Barack Obama after Baker Hostetler withdrew from the representation due to “political pressure” the firm was facing. [Politico]

* The paper and napkin-eating “Middleman” in the post-it note insider trading ring pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges. This might make it difficult for his cohorts to substantiate their not-guilty pleas. [DealBook / New York Times]

* “This is a tale with no shortage of knaves or villains.” If you’re interested in learning about Chevron’s legal wranglings in Ecuador and with plaintiffs attorney Steven Donziger, there are a bunch of interesting new readings for you to peruse. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Crisis in legal education be damned! They may have bad timing, but these law schools are focusing on building bigger and better facilities for students they’re unable to put in their seats. [National Law Journal]

* Ohio law schools have taken a bruising in terms of decreased enrollment, but the University of Toledo has faced the worst of it. With a 25.9% reduction in 1Ls, tuition cuts can only do so much. [Toledo Blade]

As has been reported, everywhere, some law school you’ve never heard of sold its naming rights to some guy you’ve never heard of for a sum of money that will be pissed away before you can blink.

I get why a major corporation would pay to name a stadium. It’s advertising. I just got back from Indiana and, what do you know, turns out Lucas Oil is a thing. I even get it when a law school names a stadium. I mean, it’s stupid, but I get it. Go Lugnuts.

But why would a private citizen pay $50 million to affix his name to an eight-year-old law school he didn’t even attend? There are people grinding out Crucible emblems in Destiny that aren’t as pointlessly vain…

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Ed note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Ann K. Levine, a law school admission consultant and owner of LawSchoolExpert.com, offers helpful tips on how to approach law school.

There is a lot of information right here on ATL that would dissuade most people from applying to law school. But, since readers keep coming back to read these posts year after year and month after month, I have a hunch that there are a lot of you insisting on going ahead and applying to law school anyway. In which case, for those individuals, I want to share some insights about the right way to approach law school and the law school application process.

Articulate Your Reason & Goal

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center….

If you haven’t been following the saga of the Charleston School of Law, here’s the short version:

There once was a subpar legal institution
It could barely teach the constitution
The students had no hope
But the law school couldn’t cope
So it sold itself to InfiLaw.

Yeah I suck at writing limericks. And “couldn’t cope” is a bit inaccurate — it’s only a financial wreck because the founders skimmed $25 million in profits off the school over the last three years. The point is, after years of struggling to be acknowledged as a real law school — ABA accreditation doesn’t count because I’m pretty sure they’d accredit the JoePa Academy of Law if I asked nicely — Charleston couldn’t hack it on its own and entered an agreement to sell the school to InfiLaw: lock, stock, and clinic. At the time, Elie described Charleston students as strippers waking up to find out the club was sold to a whorehouse, which resonates.

Legislators decried the move. The Licensing Committee rejected the sale. And yet the deal soldiers ahead.

Now Charleston has a new suitor willing to save it from for-profit InfiLaw. But would it run the school any better?

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We are very service-oriented here at Above the Law. Given the depressing realities of the legal job market, one service we provide is alerting our readers to job opportunities.

We recently reminded our readers about the deadlines for various federal-government honors programs (including but not limited to the DOJ Honors Program). In case you missed those deadlines, though, here’s another option for entering government service….

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Want your name on a law school? Just pony up $50 million.

* Voters in Scotland just said no to independence from the United Kingdom (although it might not have been a big deal for the legal profession if the vote had gone the other way). [New York Times]

* Congratulations to Drexel Law on a whopping $50 million gift — and its new name, the Thomas R. Kline School of Law. [Philadelphia Inquirer via WSJ Law Blog]

* The latest chapter in the “cautionary tale” of David Lola: dismissal of the contract attorney’s lawsuit against Skadden and Tower Legal. [American Lawyer]

* An office renovation for Baker Botts in Houston strips junior associates of window offices. [ABA Journal]

* How could Watson transform the practice of patent law? [Corporate Counsel]

* Are we seeing a reversal in the trend of declining prison populations? [Washington Post]

* The chorus of voices calling for Judge Mark Fuller to resign in the wake of domestic violence charges against him continues to grow. [New York Times]

Pack it in everybody! Mere days into the new year, there’s a 1L out there who has the “law” all figured out. He can isolate the relevant aspects of a case at first glance and his agile mind can dismiss a flawed reading with ease. He’s so prepared that he’s already talking smack about law school graduates. And he did it all on Facebook so we can see how smart he is. We are truly living in blessed times. He will restore balance to the law!

Now, some naysayers would suggest that a 1L a few days into their law school career has no place calling out the work of those who’ve come before as irrelevant and untrue. That perhaps singling out by name a law school graduate and questioning his legal acumen was excessive for a mere pup. Ignore those voices. You can’t silence genius like this.

Or arrogance like this….

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